The West-Coast Retailer Pushing Quality Over Quantity

Cuyana’s tagline is fewer, better things

In a fashion industry that is constantly transitioning from collection to collection, there is a strong conscience that shows that we have lost value in the endless amounts of clothing that hangs in our closet. As an emerging brand, Cuyana aims to change this looming perception by showcasing the significance of investing in quality versus quantity.

Founded in San Francisco, by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah, the name Cuyana originates from the Andean Quechua word for “love.” The brand challenges negative connotations related to unethical production practices by providing quality clothing that expresses the importance of “fewer, better things.” Ranging from their signature leather goods to a full collection of apparel and accessories, Cuyana designs “essential pieces for the modern woman with the most premium materials and finest craftsmanship.”

With such a strong focus rooted in fostering unique stories each season, Cuyana utilizes a direct-to-consumer business model, which employs advancements in technology as a means of encouraging the creation of meaningful relationships between the retailer and consumers. Karla feels that social media specifically, “is an incredible way to gauge excitement for a product, and our followers consistently deliver feedback with insights into new colors and fabrications they’d like to see. Since we are a direct-to-consumer brand, we have the ability to bend and change our product offering quickly, and often times, if there is demand, we can create supply without compromising our production values.” This personal and deliberate approach also allows for the brand to simplifying their supply chain, which enables the products to be sold at affordable prices. “Social responsibility is the foundation our company was built on. Everything that we have set into motion—from the way that we source, the materials that we select, and the way that we do business with our family-run partners—was started with this value at heart. From there, we’re able to concentrate on creating beautiful product with a distinct fashion point of view,” states Shilpa. Ingrained with the rich history and narratives of their specific origins, Cuyana’s pieces build an intimate connection between the consumers and the craft makers, who are sharing their expertise and culture with each distinct creation.

They also emphasize the “Lean Closet Movement” in an effort to cut down on excess items in one’s closet. Karla states “Cuyana is built on the philosophy of intention. Not only do we create product that is purposeful, but we ask our customers to build their closets in a thoughtful way that enriches their lives. The Lean Closet movement is just another component of building something with meaning.” With such a profound message in mind, the Lean Closet Movement also encourages consumers to choose the lean closet card option available upon checking out. With this process, consumers are sent a reusable bag to fill with clothing they are not currently wearing. Upon being sent back, the clothing is shipped directly to women in need through the fashion line’s non-profit partnership with H.E.A.R.T (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma). In addition to choosing this incentive, consumers are given a $10 credit towards their future Cuyana purchases. Through this generous gesture, Cuyana is actively shaping a positive perception relating to “building” a wardrobe of clothing consumers will love for years to come, while giving back to those who are less fortunate.

In a world of great excess and fleeting trends, Cuyana seeks to challenge “traditional” models prevalent within retail. Through functioning as a direct-to-consumer business model, the brand is bridging the gap between the consumers and makers, by creating products that are accessibly priced and of great quality. The retailer is also empowering women to feel beautiful in their decision to purchases pieces crafted in “love” while functioning with fewer items. In this pursuit, Shilpa wants the brand to “change the way people consume—we want to innovate the space by partnering with like-minded companies and expanding our collection of thoughtfully design, high-quality pieces.” Through this long-term goal, Cuyana is showing the fashion industry the power of investing in products that create the foundation for priceless memories that are sure to stand the test of time.

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